The Muslim community in Puerto Galera Oriental Mindoro, known for selling various souvenir items to both local and foreign tourists, grew highly entrepreneurial as they now venture into tailoring or sewing their own souvenir products such as malong, sarong, and other fabric-made items. This was made possible after DOLE has approved its request for livelihood assistance in the amount of PhP250,000 to cover 60 percent of the total project cost of their tailoring shop. Such amount was awarded directly to the Muslim group, Samahang Pangkabuhayan ng mga Maranao sa Puerto Galera, at Barangay Hall in Poblacion, Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro on 06 March 2019.

During the awarding, DOLE Livelihood Program Focal Person Mr. Ramezes R. Torres stressed that the fund is intended solely for the procurement of raw materials, tools and equipment necessary in the operation of business and not in any way to be distributed to each member. As the Accredited Co-Partner, the Barangay Local Government shall take care of the procurement through a bidding process.

As the group embarked on this new venture, Engr. Juliana H. Ortega as DOLE Field Office Head inspired them to stay on course and to practice transparency, cooperation and unity as keys to success. With this, she is optimistic to see the Marano’s tailoring shop become a community enterprise creating more jobs in the future.

The Assistant Regional Director of DOLE MIMAROPA, Mr. Bernardo B. Toriano, further advised the group to prove their worth for the project by exercising a sense of responsibility in the project implementation. He told them, “If you can be trusted of little things, you can also be trusted of bigger things. In that case, DOLE will not hesitate to provide you another round of assistance for project enhancement towards your products’ competitiveness and marketability.”

On behalf of the 21 association members, Ms. Noraisahm M. Datumulok, the Secretary, received the cheque with great appreciation and thanks. “It is a great blessing to us especially that we are the first Muslim group in the province to be assisted by DOLE. Rest assured, we will exert our best effort to sustain and make the business prosper,” Ms. Datumulok said.

Under the DOLE Integrated Livelihood Program and Emergency Employment Programs (DILEEP), DOLE provides livelihood assistance to self-employed workers, low-wage or seasonal workers and others in the informal sector to promote entrepreneurship and community enterprises. This contributes to poverty reduction and reduces the vulnerability to risks of the working poor, vulnerable and marginalized workers.

End/Mari-jo L. Cordova